Saturday, 16 July 2011

Lockerbie: Diplomat's wife hears a different story

[This is the heading over an item posted yesterday on the Sedulia's Quotations website. It reads as follows:]

A curious thing happened in the Gambia which I have often thought about since. Very soon after the Lockerbie disaster, an ex-Interpol detective came to dinner with us. He was in the Gambia investigating some kind of fisheries fraud for the EU. Over the meal we discussed Lockerbie and he said, "Oh it will all come out soon. That plane was carrying drugs to the US as part of a deal over the American hostages in Lebanon." He went on to tell us that in order for the drugs to get through unimpeded it was arranged that the cargo in the Pan Am plane would not be inspected. What happened then, he said, was that, via the Lebanese/Hezbollah/Iran connection, the extraordinary fact that the plane's cargo would travel unchecked, came to the ears of Iranians seeking revenge for the shooting down of an Iranian civilian airliner by the US not long before; somehow they arranged to put a bomb on board.

Though the detective said that this story would be all over the papers in the following months, it never was. I have told it to every journalist I know, but no paper has ever taken it up -- although there was a book published years ago called The Octopus Trail [The Trail of the Octopus, by Donald Goddard and Lester Coleman] which told more or less the same tale. Last year, not long before he died, I happened to tell Paul Foot the story and he urged me not to let it lie-- which is why I am putting it into this book.

-- Brigid Keenan (1939- ), Diplomatic Baggage: The Adventures of a Trailing Spouse (2005).

[This Lockerbie theory was, of course, also advanced by Juval Aviv in his Interfor Report. More about Aviv can be found by entering his name in the blog's search facility.]


  1. This is also, of course, the main thesis of The Maltese Double Cross (Francovich, 1994; 2 hrs 34 min). Ashton and Ferguson (2001) also propose something similar. It's a major Lockerbie conspiracy theory which has been around since forever, and if the writer thought it wasn't publicised, he or she must have been living under a rock.

    The interesting part about this tale would be, how soon is "very soon", and where did this detective get the information? If it was well before the Interfor report was leaked by Traficant, and if the source was independent of Aviv, Coleman and Francovich, it might provide independent confirmation that there's some substance to the theory (even if the protected drug shipment wasn't substituted for the bomb, which it almost certainly wasn't).

    However, it mostly sounds like someone who had some early or advance knowledge of the Interfor report.

  2. Perhaps it was at the same diplomatic dinner party in Banjul ("very soon after the Lockerbie disaster"), which Brigid Keenan's amazingly well-informed guest ex-Interpol detective attended, that the following incident occurred:

    "When they were stationed in the Gambia, the Keenans were giving a dinner party. Halfway through the evening, however, they noticed that Ceesay, their butler, had disappeared: the plates needed clearing away, but Ceesay was not to be seen. 'Ceesay,' my husband whispered louder and louder, getting a bit desperate. Suddenly Ceesay was back at his side. 'Ceesay, where have you been?' asked my husband in an undertone. 'Sorry Boss,' said Ceesay loudly and totally unabashed, 'I was just taking a piss.' The guests looked appalled. 'Well, I hope you washed your hands,' said my husband, deciding there was nothing left to do but make a joke out of it. 'Oh no boss!' said Ceesay, indignant that anyone would think he had wasted his time."